“through the streets in bathing costumes”: Resort Vacations, 1850–1900

Cindy S. Aron

in Working at Play

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195142341
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849024 | DOI:
“through the streets in bathing costumes”: Resort Vacations, 1850–1900

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During the 19th century, American resorts varied widely—in size, cost, location, clientele. Some resorts were small towns that swelled to crowded, minimetropolises during the summer season. Other resorts presented a more rural demeanor. Seaside resorts offered swimming; mountain resorts touted the pleasures of country walks and rides; inland springs added bathing to the pleasures of strolling or riding either through the town or countryside; lakes tendered the possibilities of fishing and sailing. Vacationers at summer resorts, perhaps reflecting the generalized and growing interest in competitiveness and physicality, participated in a range of sports and games. Summer resorts provided middle-class women with a significantly wider range of amusements and pleasures than normally available to them. Perhaps nowhere was the potential challenge to middle-class rules of conduct so great as when it came to two other popular resort pastimes—flirting and courting.

Keywords: United States; resorts; sports; women; swimming; flirting; courting; amusements; middle class; summer vacations

Chapter.  13326 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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